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bahrain, with yemen. they're very unlikely to do this. gadhafi really alienated the arab league, joe. >> thanks, always great to get your perspective. now it's time for "the situation room" with wolf blitzer. breaking news, a tentative deal. is the deal? jeopardy? this hour, the timetable, the terms and what this could mean for u.s. forces. we're also standing by for a statement from the secretary of state hillary clinton. we're also standing by for a statement from the nato secretary-general in brussels. stand by for that. moammar gadhafi is still on the attack, on this the sixth night of pounding by the coalition forces. an explosion and anti-aircraft fire echos in tripoli just a little while ago.
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could the outrageous failure at reagan happen again? the fallout, the danger at two planes coming in for a landing radioed the control tower and got no answer. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." let's begin with the breaking news. the united states may be closer to giving up its lead role in the fight to protect lickance from gadhafi's forces. right now there's new uncertainty, though, about a tentative deal for nato to take command of the mission. we have lots of questions about how this might play out and how it might affect the overall goal of seeing gadhafi go away. the secretary of state hillary clinton will make a statement a little more that an hour from now. we'll of course have live coverage. we're standing by to hear a statement any moment from nato's secretary-general anders rasmussen. all of our correspondents are
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also standing by with the latest on this breaking and very significant news. chris lawrence is our man at the pentagon with more. chris, before i let you tell us what the pentagon is staying, i've just learned that the united arab emirates has decided, and they're going to officially announce, they will dispatch 12 fighters, six f-16s, six mir arge fighters to make sure they participate in this no-fly zone. in addition to the humanitarian assistance they're providing the libyan people, they will get militarily involved. so it won't just be qatar, it will also be the united arab emirates. i'm sure that would be warmly welcomed by the pentagon. >>. especially after the fact we learned -- that would make two
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arab nations actually having planes. that was a key sticking point, not to just provide verbal assistance or humanitarian aid assistance, but to actually take a part in flying some of these missions. if you look at the numbers to see how much the u.s. is firmly in control, if you add up all the sorties flown, that's combat, refueling, that's everything that goes into making the no-fly zone work. if you add up all these flights, the u.s. during the last reporting period flew about 450 of those compared to about 300 by the collision, but if you break down the air combat missions, then the collision has now picked up about 75% of that worklord. so slowly the u.s. has already handed some of the control over, but what we heard today in the pentagon is if and when nato does take command of this mission it's going to be a
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phased approach. it's not going to half overnight where the u.s. just suddenly drops off in involvement, wolf. >> the pentagon normally likes to be in charge, but in this particular case, my sense is the white house really doesn't want the u.s. in charge. they have to show that others are taking the lead. how much does that play with the military brass where you are? >> the military -- you really didn't get the sense that the military was out there beating the drums for this mission before it happened, and there have been some references, secretary robert gates referenced how, you know, all of this was done somewhat on the fly. you know, this was put together so quickly, now we're seeing with some of the problems with handing over the mission to nato, exactly some of those problems manifesting themselves in terms of there not being a very clear line from the start of this mission until now to
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exactly how it was going to play out and who was going to take control. i spoke with a defense official just a few days ago in talking about who he thought would be best to take over this mission. he said, look, without question nato, because if nato has the structure and the command to pick this up with minimum, minimum risk to the pilots, minimum disruption to the patrol zones, but he said the drawback is they work on consensus, you've got to get everyone to agree, and one of the key points here is if and when nato does take over, what will the restrictions be? if all those nations have to agree, will they agree to the same sort of strikes that are being conducted now? listen on what he just heard a few minutes ago. >> i'm not sure how the rules of engagement could be more restrictive than they already are that we're not already applying on ourselves. for instance, we are not
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attacking what tactical air krafl forces inside of a constituent, nothing prevents us in the rules of engagement from doing that. we're doing that because we are not sure -- we're fairly confident we couldn't achieve -- meet or collateral damage concerns. >> but the coalition has been doing strikes -- air strikes on ground forces, moammar gadhafi's ground forces outside of the cities. would that continue under nato? that's something we'll have to keep a close eye on. >> turkey is a member of nato, and they don't necessarily appreciate some of those assaults on the ground troops on gadhafi. stand by, chris. i want to go to nato headquarters. paula newton is standing by. anders rasmussen, paula, was supposed to deliver a statement a while ago. that's been delayed. what's the problem there? >> reporter: instead a lot of
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nervous officials. they've been in and out of the meeting room. they're back in there. the reason is exactly what chris was talking about. one is chris was talking about a seamless transfer from the united states to nato. officials say the plant wouldn't even be ready for that until about sunday. they would put over all this planning until the meeting in london on tuesday. the other thing they're not comfortable with is this whole issue of unity of command when it comes to things like air strikes. turkey is still going back to the table saying i know we were going to agree, our capital still not so comfortable with that. they want to make sure that they have some control over this unity of command, that he will be comfortable with the character of any air strikes conducted in libya. this is still at issue. i notice secretary of state clinton is waiting to see the
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outcome. even though the secretary-general is ready to come out and speak to us, they may delay this until tomorrow. >> and because they were supposed to speak -- what time is it over there in brussels right now? >> reporter: local time we've got 10 after 10:00. they're still hoping they can come up with a statement in the next hour, which means secretary clinton can continue with the statement she wanted to deliver, but i have to tell you that's very up in the air. they want to make sure turkey is comfortable with this. they said to make sure they have turkey on board. that country has already sent ships that will enforce that naval blockade. to have any kind of moral suasion, they want to make sure that the nato members are on board fully and completely. right now they're having problems with that. >> we'll see if turkey stands
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with the nato allies or breaks with the united states. we remember on the eve of the war in 2003 when the u.s. led the invasion into iraq to defeat saddam hussein, turkey refused to allow the u.s. to move into northern iraq from turkey. that was a source of grave concern to the bush administration at the time. we'll see it if the turkish government is willing to cooperate or if it decided to go a separate wags. clearly they have to have turkey on board. we'll see what they decide to do. paula, we're going to stay in close touch with you. as soon as you see the secretary-general, let us know. we'll bring that statement live, and of course we're waiting to hear from the sect stair secretary of state hillary clinton as well. dan lothian and gloria borger are here. dan, what are they saying at the white house? >> reporter: no formal reaction from the white house. as you pointed out secretary
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clinton will be making some comments in the next hour, but i did speak to a senior administration official who said, yes, this expected deal is seen as a positive step. this no doubt will remove some of the pressure from the administration. there have been a lot of questions asked about the u.s. mission there in libya. there have been questions asked about the cost and the u.s. footing the bill for this. in addition, there's also been a lot of controversy about, you know, what's the exit strategy for the u.s.? this will tend to relieve some of the pressure. the bottom line is that the administration has been very clear about this mission, saying that it's a narrowly focused mission that would not be extended, and that they would move from the leadership role to a supporting role. so that's what we'll see from the u.s. going forward, wolf. >> but gloria, as narrowly defined as the military mission is, authorized by the u.n. security council, the president, the secretary of state, they've made it clear that their ultimate objective is removing gadhafi from power. >> right, and removing gadhafi,
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the president has taken pains to say, is a u.s. objective and not the objective of the larger mission. look at what we're seeing in nato this evening. i think what we're learning here is we may have to learn to live with some sort of ambiguity, because when you no longer lead a mission, and we say we no longer want to lead this mission, then the question is, can you dictate the terms of the mission? the answer to that is no. so coalition management, wolf, if you will, will become a huge challenge for the united states, because here we've put our people on the line, we've put a lot of money on the line, we've put a lot of missiles on the line, and we don't want to take a step backward. we don't want to have the nato enforcement be any less than what it has been, so i think this whole management of the coalition will be somebody's full-time job if it indeed can
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be done. you know, we're in uncharted waters here, wolf. >> it's going to be complicated. i want you both to stand by. we're also standing by to hear, we think from anders recent musen. we'll go there live. if he can't make a statement, that in and of itself is a statement, that they failed to reach an agreement to allow nato to take charge from the united states. we'll told hillary clinton will speak from the state department in the 6:00 p.m. eastern hour. we'll see if she does go ahead and make that statement if rasmussen, the nato secretary-general fails to come up with an announcement. you'll see it live, unfolding here in "the situation room." we're also going live to tripoli, where new explosions have just been heard just a little while ago. lots of news happening today right here in "the situation room." [ male announcer ] 95% of all americans
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find more ways to get to the table at all your important legal matters in just minutes. now it's quicker and easier for you to start your business... protect your family... and launch your dreams. at we put the law on your side. the war in libya certainly on jack cafferty as mind this hour. he's here with "the cafferty file." jack? >> with an interview with "the boston globe" back in 2007, then senator and future president barack obama said this on the campaign trail, quote -- the president does not have power
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under the constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation, unquote. he was talking about iran at the time, but fast-forward three-plus years and some lawmakers are now accusing him of doing just that in libya. in separate remarks that same year, 2007, then senator joe biden said he would move to impeach a president who does such a thing. don't you hate it when words come back to bite you like that? there are a lot of unanswered questions swirls around or involvement in libya on the part of congress and the american people. did the president have authority to order u.s. military forces into libya? what's the u.s. mig there? how quickly can and should we and over control and to whom? it's something the president, secretary of state and secretary of defense have talked about. maybe most importantly what's the ends game?
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the obama administration insists it's been responsive to the many questions, but no one on capitol hill seems to be satisfied with the president. so here's the question. do you feel i've been told the truth about libya? go to, post a comment on my blog. wolf? >> it's interesting. a lot of democrats are defending his actions, but you know if a republican president had done this, they would have a very different position. but that's politics in washington. >> well, there are also, though, questions about the constitutionality of ashl traerly and u.n. latly ordering the u.s. military into a place like libya, the quoes being unless there's a imminent threat, the constitution says he's not allowed to do this. presidents have done this for a long time, whether it's legal under the constitution is an open question that never seems
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to be answered, does it? >> no. we won't be able to answer it either. stand by. gadhafi's regime claims that coalition air strikes are doing the exact opposite of what they're supposed to be dogs. let's go to tripoli, our senior international correspondent nic robertson is on the scene for you. knick, just a little while ago, more explosions, more tracer fire. what's going on? >> at least one very big explosion. we heard a pentagon spokesman say not only is the command and control being targeted, ammunition stores being targeted. we know from government officials in the east of the city here, the large military air base communication equipment targeted there as well. so it's not clear what's been targeted tonight. perhaps we'll find out from government officials, they tell us some things, not everything.
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so not clear what was hit tonight so far, wolf. >> the pentagon says the coalition says there must be a cease-fire, the libyans must stop what they're doing, stop attacking opposition forces, basically sit down on their hands in their bases. what are government officials in tripoli saying about that? >> they've been some issues with what's being said. number one they keep repeating they're on a cease-fire, but one is the town of ajdabiya, about 100 miles from ben gasesist, so when gadhafi's forces were beaten out of, they had just taken control of it a couple days before. that's where they're dug in and that's where rebels are attacking them. what the government will say and says to us, we're in the city, there are civilians in the city, the rebels are attacking us, the
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side offence are in the city, and some support the government, appeared some don't, but these are civilians that the coalition needs to protect. so they sort of throw this back at the international community saying that the civilians in the city where they are in ajdabiya, and the coalition should do more to protect them from the rebels. the other city that the government here really has a big question mark over a where a lot of civilians were killed. they fought a touch battle, but that was about two weeks ago. now the government is hearing from the international community that they have to pull out of that town and turn it over to the opposition. but 9 government's point here, and this is what they tell us, how can we?
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the opposition is gone, we're there, there's very few troops there. we can see the stage is being set that the situation is really being said for some serious confrontations there, regardless of what happens in misrata at the moment. >> knick we'll get back to you. stand by. we're standing by we hear from the secretary-general in brussels. is there a deal for the united states to hand over command responsibilities to nato? we've been waiting for him for a few hours. we'll see if the nato secretary-general anders rasmussen shows up and makes a statement. we're also total that secretary clinton is getting ready to make a statement. obviously there could be a snag it all of these plans. much more coming up, right after this. wrench? wrench.
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let's get back to the breaking news. we have new information on the talks at nato headquarters over a tentative plan. cnn's paula newton is in brussels watching this unfold. what have you learned, paula? >> reporter: just an update.
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the secretary-general is shuttling between the french delegation, the turkish delegation, it's incredibly fluid. he's trying to see if he can salvage a statement that nato will take this over. at issue, wolf, the sequencing, how quickly the u.s. can turn over command to nato and make sure this isn't staggered. the turkish delegation saying, look, stay tuned to see if they can put this through this evening. if not, secretary clinton scheduled to make a statement this hour. >> she's probably waiting to see if rasmussen, the nato secretary-general will make a statement first, and then she'll follow. we'll see what happens. paula, thanks very much. we're following all of this news out of the libya, the u.s.-led military operation, a tentative deal, as wet, for nato to take command of the operation. we're standing by for a statement. from the nato secretary-general if in fact that happens, as well
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as the secretary of state hillary clinton. we'll have that all live as it unfolds. we'll also speak with two u.s. retired insurgent, including one former nato supreme allied commander. nnouncer ] opportunity is a powerful force. set it in motion... and it goes out into the world like fuel for the economy. one opportunity leading to another... and another. we all have a hand in it. because opportunity can start anywhere, and go everywhere. let's keep it moving. ♪
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sgli here's the breaking news this hour. a tentative deal for nato to take over command for the air assault over libya, some concerns being raised at the last minute over this deal. we're watching it very closely, we're following all of this, waiting for a statement from the secretary-general, but also from the secretary of state hillary clinton as well. in the meantime, let's decide general james spider marks who area here, wall us through from a u.s. military perspective what it means if the u.s. gives up command to nato. as far as u.s. troops, what does that mean? >> no change. essentially the answer is no change. what it means is there will be another flal that will be in charge action a brit or french.
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i think it would be a french general officer. what will happen is the united states will still very much by the glue that holds this coalition together, primarily in terms of its intelligence capabilities and command and control apparatus. those two are interwoven. it allows for the display and dissemination into command suites tludout the various echelons so that everybody is on the same page. that's been approved by and is in place with the u.s. and all the nato partners. so that exists and that's what they normally do. what is being stated is there will be a staff that will be filled out with a number of u.s. and american officers that will be a part of that, but there will be a senior guy in charge who will not be an american, but the guys prosecuting it -- >> but the overall nato allied supreme commander is an american. isn't he effectively in charge? >> what they're going to do is
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cut out and create a joint task force, and it will have a dotted line into the nato supreme allied commander. >> because what we're hearing is that some nato allies, turkey specifically, are very reluctant to be a robust u.s./british/french/nato air campaign against ground forces, not only going after their planes and enforcing a no-fly zone, but going after the artillery, tanks anything potential that could enganger civilians. >> absolutely. i think that has to do with the muslim sensibilities, and tshld. i think what we're seeing is that i think they're say, look, you americans haven't worked this out. we have this policy gap between what the united states man dade has dictated and what we've heard your president say. let's get that off the table and
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put somebody else in charge right now, yet we very much want you to assist. >> to american troops like reporting to a french general in effect? >> they won't. they won't. a staff officer will, but the command lines will be u.s. through all the way up through the u.s. the u.s. does not subordinate its commands. >> in fato takes over, does that effectively reduce the scope of this operation, given the fact that turkey, germany, some other allies aren't happy with the broad nature of this operation? >> i think the attempt is to align what the u.n. mandate says with the applicational force. the concern is there's been an acceleration and expansion in these early stages, only to set the conditions for a no-fly zone. >> let's bring in retirmd u.s. general wesley clark. he himself is a former nato supreme allied commander. general clark, it looks like
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there's a snag going on, even at this last moment, a couple hours, three hours ago, we were expecting to hear from the nato secretary-general, make this dramatic announcement that nato was taking command of the operation inside libya. that hasn't happened. they're still behind closed doors, you've been there, you've seen this play before. the secretary of state hillary clinton is supposed to speak after the nato secretary-general. give us a little flavor of how extraordinary this is, what's going on? >> it's only extraordinary in the sense thattist being played out openly. normally these happen in privacy. e france, even though they rejoined the military alliance. they've always had the idea that somehow they had -- should have a greater role. they wanted to take supreme command and rotate that at one point.
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they wanted the command of the southern region at one point. so this is part of a long-standing french agenda that is there, it's always pushed by the french, and then it comes up at this particular time. now, typically what these arguments go about, in council are a couple different things. one would be intelligence sharing of national intelligence we will only do that with certain countries, and france hasn't been one of them. so they don't get the same level of intelligence that, let's say the british or the australians do. and then another one would be the ability to task u.s. classified assets. that also would not be possible, and we would not plan for those assets like tlams in channels and share that planning data with certain countries. so those could be what the discussion is about.
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>> let met interrupt for a moment. what we're told is one of the issues, is the turks for example -- and you had a deal with turkey when you were supreme commander -- the turks want to scale back the ground rules. what the coalition can do to go after gadhafi's forces, the u.s., the french, the british, have a much broader ground rule, if you will, rules of engagement, as opposed to the turks. how big a deal is that? >> it could be a pretty big deal. turkey has workers still in libya. turkey has insulted it wasn't consulted. turkey, since my day in nato, relations with turkey have actually gone downhill, because they were rebuffed time and again, largely by france, in their efforts to join the european union. so there's some hard feelings, and turkey has since, under prime minister erdogan has moved toward a greater regional role
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at the expense of trying to be more closely integrated into europe. so they're playing on a different agenda. they're still an important member of nato, a vital member of nato, and their concerns have got to be dealt with in a reasonable way. >> how do you deal -- i'll bring in general marks in a second -- but you're the nato expert. we've reported in a the united arab emirates will send six fighter jets to participate in the no-fly zone. the uae is participating. the uae, qatar, are not members of nato. how do you finesse that? the pilots gets their missions referred by their air officer or commander back to national authorities for final approval before they're executed. they're english-speaking, on the command and control deck they have radios that mesh. they have weapons that are similar. so it can be done technically.
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they still remain -- all these forces still remain until national command, it's only the operational direction that's going to be vested in whatever headquarters element emerges from this. >> sounds pretty confusing to me, but -- >> well, we learn how to do it. >> both of you stand by for a moment. meanwhile, the syrian government is promising to respond as well. syria's getting involved. there's issues as political turmoil in that country seems to be coming to a new level. will what's going on in syria generate the kind of unrest in libya, tu in addition dwra, egypt? stands by. [ male announcer ] at quicken loans,
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we get back to the breaks news. libya, nato, who will they do? we're standing by to hear from the secretary-general and secretary of state hillary clinton. other important news, including inside japan. workers are back inside the crippled power plant a day after black smoke forced an evacuation. they're trying to stop more radiation from leaking out of the plant. new tests today show radioactive iodine levels in tokyo's tap water have dropped back down to
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safe levels for babies. authorities had been handing out bottled wars. fears about radiation remain high. food shipments have been -- after 12 vegetables were found off levels higher than the legal limit. our crew has experienced some of the dangsers firsthand. we're talking about brian todd. he's back with us safe and sound after his travels in japan with a search-and-rescue crew from virginia. he was there with his producer and photographer. quite an experience, brian? >> it was. i think what stands out as a memory is the images of standing in the middle of the rubble. the pictures we sat down are amazing. to stand in the middle of it and look around at the complete devastation and realize the furse force of the water, and what it must be like to stand there and watch everything just get swept away.
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that was just an amazing sensation. also to look at the people, coming back and picking through houses of their that just weren't even there anymore, looking for remnants of their lives. one of the rescuers told me it's a way of preventing them themselves from going insaid, to find a remnant of their past lives in order to start anew. >> heartbreaking stuff. what were the biggest challenges? >> i'll tell you, even talking 10, 15 feel were a huge chalens. i'm following one of the rescuers stepping over something, to try to bring that home to viewers, i got a dv-cam and tried to film myself walking 15 feet. we'll show a clip of that right now. >> reporter: part of the complication is walking from one place to another.
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see this area behind me. it's just a few feet away, but i can't walk 15, 20 feet without having to just navigate through some -- well, i'm going to take you through it. i have to go down here, and the camera is probably going all over the place, because i'm down into a ravine of debris, i have to step this this way, everything is slippery, because it's snowing. now i can kind of walk. just barely. it was a real challenge to do that. another challenge of transmission was our satellite signal. we used a machine called a b-gan, which is essentially a satellite/internet terminal, we had a picture of that. it had to be outside, and cost about $16 a minute. the other was mris, you're eating what the soldiers eat in
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wartime. we were eating this every day for about eight days. my producer, dugle mcconnell demonstrated that. >> these are the rescuers that cnn has been embedded with. literally. the standard issue sleeping back and cot that some of these folks have been in. also standard issue, meals ready to eat. meals in a pouch, just add water, heat them up and you're ready to go. >> i have to say about two of the most courageous guys i worked with. they never flinched, never complained, never said we shouldn't go into a place that might be too dangerous. i frankly didn't deserve these guys. they were the ones that made the story. >> we were blessed to have all threw of you working for cnn. you did a great job, and we appreciate it. brian, thanks very much. >> thank you. we'll go back to the breaking news on libya. stand by. we'll be right back. ♪
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some political hot water for potential hopeful haley barbour. >> "time" is reporting the mississippi governor flew to washington on a luxury jet for a weekend of political appearances, including this one here at taxpayers' expense, according to documents obtained by the magazine, the february trip cost the state more than
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$7,000. a spokesman for the governor says it was justified by work he was doing for mississippi during the same weekend. four-time oscar nominated actor ed harris will play nominee john mccain in hbo's upcoming movie "game change." the film, which is based on the best-selling book chronicling the presidential race will focus on the losing campaign. actress julianne moore will play sarah palin and time warner is the parent company of hbo and cnn. cnn was the first to learn that tea party favorite and congresswoman michele bachmann will form a presidential exploratory commit aye. the republican plans to file papers in june, possibly even a little earlier. so we'll keep an eye on that. >> a lively political season coming up. thanks very much for that. the future of the coalition mission in libya very much up in the air right now.
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we're waiting from word on a tentative deal for nato to take over command, and the secretary of state hillary clinton expected to make a statement soon. live coverage as it happens here in "the situation room." >> it brings your best minds and their brightest ideas together. it helps the largest of companies seize opportunity like the smallest of startups. it's the network-- the intelligent, secure cisco network that lets your employees, partners, suppliers and customers innovate and share so you can unleash the power of your most valuable asset: your people.
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jack's back with the cafferty file. jack? >> the question this hour is, do you feel that you've been told the truth when it comes to libya? rob writes from kentucky. of course they're telling us everything. they have no clear mission, no clear exit strategy, no clear definition of success or failure. no clear understanding of who is in charge and no clue what the results of their actions are going to produce. sheryl in south carolina says i don't know the whole truth, jack. but president obama and his advisers do. more importantly, i don't feel that i've been lied to. which is nice for a change. john in california, heck, i don't feel i've been told the truth about anything that really matters and i'm 61 years old. old enough to lived through vietnam, watergate, wmd in iraq and change we can believe in. sadly i've adopted an --
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>> i've been told as much as possible. instant gratifications become a habit. give our forces a chance to do this and don't demand too much, too soon. ralph says, yes, a town the size of seattle, washington, was faced with extermination and the u.s. stepped in at the last minute to stop it. the rest is hogwash. dena writes, you must be kidding. we were told our country was in jeopardy because of communism during vietnam war. we were told al qaeda was in afghanistan. wul auz lies to fight wars for global corporations and special interest groups. and rich in texas writes what i think is that nobody knows the truth. some resemblance of military force has no clear missions or goals.
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how can they know if they've achieved a desired effect if they don't know what it is? if you want to read more go to >> will do, jack. thank you. any moment now we could get word of a tentative deal for nato to take command. standby for more live reports on the breaking story. we expect to be hearing from hillary clinton. she's supposed to make a statement in the next hour. we'll have live coverage in "the situation room." and a new response from the white house to the latest violent crackdown on protesters in syria. so, at our company, we pay about the same, even though i'm a great driver, and he's... not so much. well, for a driver like you, i would recommend our new snapshot discount. this little baby keeps track of your great driving habits, so you can save money. [sighs] amazing. it's like an extra bonus savings. [ cackling ] he's my ride home. how much can the snapshot discount save you?
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to enter without a blue onstar button. this is television from syrian state tv show iing a pro demonstration. the white house just issued a strong statement condemning the syrian government's crackdown on escalating protests in daraa and elsewhere in syria, calling the violence and killings brutal. thousands turned out for funerals for those killed. mary snow has the latest details
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of what's unfolding in syria. >> the government is now making promises. one of them according to state run tv is that people detained in recent weeks where protests are occurring are will be released. videos from inside syria are in contrast to the videos we just showed. some of the videos we've just seen, cnn can't independently verify them, but they show rising tensions. this is what it looked like in syria. in the uprising in the 1980s, thousands were killed. but now anger is rising and so is violence involving anti-government protesters and syrian security forces. one human rights organization reports dozens of people have been killed in the past two days. the head of that group tells cnn the wall of fear in syria is
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falling. >> -- the people of his country. what is happening is they are taping. >> in an apparent response to protesters demands, an adviser announced a number of measures. one of them, a look at lifting the emergency law that barred public gatheringins for more th four decades. the president's adviser blamed a conspiracy for unrest and accused media of making the situation bigger. an area that suffer ad long drought. a poor area with growing pool of young people out of work. one time observers says daraa's problems are indicative of
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what's troubling syria. the reforms are seen as too little, too late. >> as syria gets rid of socialism, the socialism reports have been undermined. so the poor are getting poorer as the rich get richer. it's opening an income gap. this is tearing syria apart. >> syria has religious divides. the president is part of the religious minority in syria. the majority of people are sunni-muslim. and some in daraa have criticized the government with shiaa iran. but they say it's not about religion, but about freedom, reform and stopping corruption. >> the big question is if unrest will spread throughout syria. since activists are calling for protests. >> we'll have complete coverage in "the situation room." thanks, mary. and you're in "the situation
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room." breaking news as coalition aircraft pound targets in libya. the u.s. and key allies reach a deal for nato to take over command of the operation. there are already questions whether the agreement will hold. we're awaiting a statement from the nato secretary general as well as the secretary of state, hillary clinton. we'll bring you both statements live. congressional critics have been slamming the white house over the handling of the crisis. if nato takes control, will that take some of the heat off of president obama? and an international tribunal investigates gadhafi for war crimes and crimes against humanity. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." the u.s. may soon hand over leadership of the libya operation or it may take longer. a deal in principle we are now told has been reached for nato
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to assume command of the military mission in if coming days. there's been some diplomatic wrangling over the exact nature of the mission. we're awaiting a statement from the nato secretary general as well as the secretary of state hillary clinton. we'll bring it to you live. we're standing by for that. in a related development, france says its fighter jets destroy ad libbian combat aircraft in violation of the no-fly mandate. it was struck with missiles as it landed at an airfield in misrata. meantime, the allies are pressing ahead with their campaign now in its sixth day. earlier state tv showed the video of what it says is ha military base in flames. reportedly a result of air strikes in tripoli. and joining us now, nic robertson joining us from tripoli and arwa damon in benghazi. we saw, we heard the tracer fire just a little while ago. what's the latest?
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>> reporter: well, the latest from here is we've seen at least one heavy explosion. it's not clear where it was in the city. but quite possibly close to us. there was a smaller explosion before a burst of anti-aircraft gunfire. what we've heard from witnesses and what we're hearing from government officials, the targtding of tripoli seems to focus on military airfield, large military airfield in the east of the city taking out communications equipment and military base on the west of the city where witnesses have seen an uprising from earlier bombardments, wolf. >> arwa, you were with the rebels in eastern libya. did you get any sense that they're making a dent in their fight against gadhafi's forces? >> reporter: no, it doesn't seem that they are. the front line only moving forward a very short distance.
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they're still being bogged down, challenged by the same issues they were facing 24 hours ago. hean that is the small unit of gadhafi's troops. the number of tanks that have seen the opposition trying to launch small attacks from the attacks each time a convoy moves out it comes under tank and artillery attack. so it doesn't seem they have the military strategy in place just yet to be able to tackle this one small unit. this is very concerning it will be a trend moving ahead. how is it the opposition fighters that lack the opposition in training are going to clear all the the cities and towns of gadhafi's troops if they're this bogged down by one small community. wolf? >> nic, gadhafi's media keep saying the coalition, the u.s. and others are killing innocent civilians in libya. have you seen any evidence of
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that? >> reporter: we haven't wolf. we saw an example of how the government tries to make this point and prove the point that civilians are being killed. it cannot offer any credible evidence. we went to a mass funeral for more than 30 people. we were told it was for soldiers and civilians killed in coalition bombing. we weren't able to find any family members there at all among the hundreds of people gathered at this funeral. there was far more anger than grief. we weren't able to find out any details about any of the people who were being buried, who they were exactly, how they died. when they died. certainly when i was at the grave site when a couple of people were buried, people are taken out of the coffin and buried wrapped in a shroud. they appeared large and quite heavy. they appeared to be men of
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fighting age. that's all we know. that's all we could see. that was a couple of the bodies. the government hasn't been able to show precisely, concisely and decisively in any way that they have had civilian casualties. it's not to say that it hasn't happene happened. >> arwa, do the rebel commanders care if the u.s. or nato is in control of this operation? >> reporter: no, wolf. they don't. there's one thing they care about. that is that the operation continues. they still desperately are going to need the no-fly zone. they are still going to need the ongoing air strikes. so that is the one main focus. because without that as has been evident, they most certainly will be driven back and eventually defeated by gadhafi's forc forces. so the critical component is not who is running the operation, but that the operation is taking
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place and continues to take place, wolf. >> and it is continuing to take place. arwa, thanks very much. nic, thanks to you as well. it's official now. nato has reached an agreement to take over the no-fly zone operation over libya. they've worked all day to make sure that they have everyone on board. we are now told that nee though has decided to take charge from the united states, specifically there will be a broad coalition of not only nato allies, but others from outside of nato who will participate in making sure that civilians in libya, civilians in libya will be protected. they have -- they say -- nato says that all members, all members of nato are now in agreement that they will take charge. this has been very important for the obama administration, the president of the united states, the secretary of state, the secretary of defense, in
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recent -- since this operation began almost a week ago. they said the u.s. would be in charge only for a matter of days. then someone else would take charge. it was unclear who would take charge. now we know it will be nato together with some nonnato members who will participate only within in the past hour or so. the united arab emirates said it will send 12 jet fighters to participate in the no-fly zone operation. six frempbl made barrage jet fighters. the united arab emirates will join. and they will participate two members of arab league. we're standing by to speak with the secretary general. rasmussen. i think he's ready right now. secretary general, this is wolf in washington. can you hear me?
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>> yeah, i hear you, wolf. >> so tell us, secretary general, what nato agreed to. we know you were in hectic meetings all day. what is the announcement you're here to tell the viewers in the united states and around the world? >> nato has now decided to enforce the no-fly zone over libya. we are taking action as part of the broad international effort to protect the civilians against the regime. we will cooperate closely with our partners in the region, and we welcome their contributions. all nato allies are committed to fulfill their commitments under the u.n. resolution. and that's why we have decided to assume responsibility for the no-fly zone. >> when does nato assume the responsibility from the united
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states? >> we have done all the necessary preparation. we can take over in a couple days. >> by this weekend nato will be in charge. will the overall commander be someone from france, britain, from denmark where you're from? who will be in charge? >> we will use the already established nato chain of command. >> so who will be the commander of the operation? >> that's for the military authorities to decide. the nato council does not make that decision. >> do you know if they've already made the decision, secretary general?
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it is a nato supreme commander who will be responsible. his by the way, an american but nato commander. i want to be precise. are you saying this operation will be commanded by the u.s. commander of nato? >> yeah. it will be a nato command. but i also have to say that we will include contributing partners from the region in this operation. it's of utmost importance to stress that this is not primarily a nato operation. it is a broad international effort in which we will include partners for the region that
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have pledged to contribute to this protection of civilians in libya. >> so the operation will be consistent with what's been going on for the past week, almost a week. in accordance with the united nations security council resolution 1973. it will not only create a no-fly zone, but will use all necessary means to protect civilians in libya. is that correct? >> what we have decided is that nato will enforce the no-fly zone. we are considering whether nato should take on that broader responsibility. but that decision has not been made yet. >> well it sounds like there is a dispute among the nato allies whether this other responsibility to protect civilians in libya, whether that should be the responsibility of
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nato or someone else should take that responsibility. is that a fair description? >> no. there's no split. on the contrary, there is a unity within nato. we have decided to take on the responsibility for the no-fly zone. it will fake place as part of a broad international effort to protect civilians. >> during the first six days, as you know, secretary general. if gadhafi's tanks were moving against rebel forces or artillery was firing weapons,
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planes would go in and attack ground forces of the libyan military. you're saying there's no agreement yet on whether these would authorize the attacks on libyan ground forces. >> we have decided to take responsibility for the no-fly zone with the aim to spect protect civilians by closing the air space for all flights, except eight flights, all with the aim to protect civilians. of course, we can act in self defense. we have not decided yet whether we will take on the the broader responsibility this means you will have two operations. we have taken on responsibility for the no-fly zone while the
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coalition still continues its activities. that decision has not been made yet. >> i think you're very clear. i understand what you're saying. nato will be in charge of the no-fly zone, but the united states and coalition partners at least for now until nato makes a final decision will continue to be in charge of protecting civilians from libyan tanks or artillery or ground fire. and if they want to send in planes to destroy the tanks, that will not be nato. correct me if i'm wrong, secretary general. >> yeah, but i would add that we are considering whether we should take on the broader responsibility in cooperation with partners from the region.
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>> when do you think you'll make the final decision on expanding the nato operation to include this other mission? >> without production, the outcome of our deliberations, i think we may be able to take the decision within the coming days. >> all right. thank you very much for joining us. anders rasmussen is the former prime minister of denmark. is that right? >> yes, indeed. you're welcome. thank you. >> we've met here in washington. he's a very good man. he was generous to share the news with all of us here on cnn. the secretary general of nato. we're standing by for the secretary of state hillary clinton now she's ready to speak habit the new nato deal to take
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charge of the no-fly zone. nato is getting ready to take charge of the no-fly zone. the other separate military operation, at least for now, remains under u.s. military command. much more of the breaking news coverage right after this. [ male announcer ] opportunity is a powerful force. set it in motion... and it goes out into the world like fuel for the economy. one opportunity leading to another... and another. we all have a hand in it. because opportunity can start anywhere, and go everywhere. let's keep it moving. ♪ st: uld switching to geico reon car insurance?moreg. host: is the pen mightier than the sword?
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you heard the breaking news live here in "the situation
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room." the nato secretary general anders rasmussen announcing nato reached an agreement to take over operation of the no-fly zone over libya. no agreement on whether to go ahead and launch attacks against libyan ground forces tanks, artillery threatening opposition forces, the rebels. let's discuss what's going on in the breaking news that is significant. joining us right now are pentagon correspondent chris lawrence, our white house correspondent, dan lothian and ressa seya in benghazi. let me go to you first. it sounds complicated. but from the rebels' perspective, i assume they're happy that not only will nato be in charge of the no-fly zone, but other countries will continue they're operation
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designed to protect civilians. >> wolf, as long as the operation is in place. as long as there's international intervention the opposition forces are happy. what is remarkable is the critical fact that continues to be ignored. that's the stated intention, the stated mission of these opposition forces. they want to continue to fight. they want the war. they want toic that this war to moammar gadhafi and his regime and topple them. that's something usually buried in the headlines when you hear about the score keeping of this battle, all the details of this combat. these opposition forces want a war to continue. that brings up a lot of questions. u.n. resolution 1973, its stated
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intention is that it wants to end the bloodshed. the intention is to end the bloodshed, but you have opposition forces saying they want to continue the war. the question is how do you end the bloodshed? when one side wants to continue to fight? it brings up the questions the critics are asking. where is it going? when is it going to end? how will it end? >> dan lothian at the white house. the white house, the president, the secretary of state, the secretary of defense, they said repeatedly it would be a matter of days. they handed over the command of responsibility to someone else. now we know nato will be in charge of the no-fly zone. but nato is at least not yet, you heard the secretary general said. nato will not be in charge of the other part of the operation, protecting the civilians from gadhafi's ground forces.
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it sounds like the u.s. will be in charge of a big part of this operation. >> this is still unfolding. how does that jive with what jay carney said that u.s. planes would not be involved in the second phase of the mission in libya. it would be an assist and support role. it will be interesting to see how this lines up with the desire of the administration. that's to see libya without moammar gadhafi. you heard from the president and other senior officials saying he must go. he shows no signs of going away. how will this lead to the desire to see gadhafi out of libya? i think it's unclear at this
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point how that will eventually happen. >> lots of questions that have to be answered. the pentagon will have to answer a lot of these questions. chris lawrence is our man at the pentagon. pentagon planners, pentagon commanders have been saying now for days that they have effectively destroyed libya's air defense system. basically the air force is not flying anymore. so maintaining the no-fly zone over libya doesn't look to be that difficult of an operation right now. the real difficulty will be making sure the ground forces don't endanger civilians. if you believe what the secretary general of nato says, they haven't committed themselves to take on the responsibility, i'm told, by the way, because turkey, among others, a nato ally, doesn't want nato to take over if responsibility of going after na nato's ground forces.
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>> no. that's still going to be handled by the coalition. reza made a great point in pointing out the aim of the opposition. just yesterday they said we have seen some of these opposition forces that now have tanks, that now have armor, heavy har more. and he said, i don't believe at this point those units would still be covered under the protect civilian clause. he also talked about a challenge, a very challenging situation that could develop if and when the opposition begins to go on the offensive. if they begin to advance. what happens then if the rebels then become a danger to other libyan civilians? if nato doesn't take the umbrella mission. if you have sort of separate command and control, that could only make things more difficult, wolf. >> guys, standby. we're going to continue to
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follow the breaking news. the secretary of state hillary clinton getting ready to speak and explain the u.s. position on all of this over at the state department. we'll go there. we'll hear what hillary clinton has to say about all of this. much more of the breaking news. a tentative deal. nato will be in charge of the no-fly zone. not of the ground. the attack on the libyan ground forces endangering civilians. find a lower pce on a tractor or mower and sears will mat it and give you up tone-hundred dollar gift card. plus, fridayhrough turday, saventy-five
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we're following the breaking news out of nato headquarters in brussells. the nato secretary general broke the news on cnn a little while ago in "the situation room." he said nato agreed to take over the no-fly zone operation, but not the broader mission to make sure that civilians are protected from gadhafi's ground forces. you're getting more details. what are you hearing? >> let's talk about what will happen next. no fly in place. they should be operational hon that by sunday night. next, they sent a directive to the mill their chain of command to ask for options on a more ro bust role. they're calling it here no-fly plus. what does that mean? they'll see how they can do it,
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to bomb other targets if they need to, depending on the key point about protecting civilians on the ground in libya. but what will happen, wolf, is that although all 28 nations would have to agree to any of the targets and how it's executed, individual countries can pull out and say, look, we're not taking part on this. maybe france and britain can bomb the targets, but we'll withdrawal our planes for this specific mission. they're hoping it gives them latitude to act. they want nato to have the full capacity to act on the resolution. they expect to make turkish air bases operational for this. this is very significant. >> we just lost paula newton. but we got the gist of what she was saying. the turkish air bases would be operational to maintain the no-fly zone over libya.
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i expect they won't be used for ground attacks against -- air attacks against gadhafi's ground forces. weal reconnect with paula and double check that. let's bring in retired general. what do you make of this arrangement that was announced and the little bit more detail we got from paula newton? >> frankly, i was shocked when i heard it. it will make things more difficult for the commanders on the ground, not easier. thank god we have commanders -- in the nato supreme allied commander. because they've now been given a mission of deckocodeconfliction >> what does that mean? >> think of libya as a big open area that now needs to be divided between two separate military commands. the u.s. military command, which will continue to be spom for humanitarian mission, which also could include ground to air attacks against the tanks, air to ground attacks against the tanks and the logistics line.
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nato is supposed to be controlling the no-fly zone which could be in the same air space. it will take technical koord in this case through the control system ls. but at the oend of the day, it's going to be tough for two separate four stars oning two separate operations on the same terrain. >> but assume that the american commander of the african command and the nato supreme commander, also an american, they talk with each other, they work with each other, and they can make sure that the planes don't, for example, attack each other accidentally. >> well, they certainly will be talking now. that will be absolutely essential so the deconfliction happens without major incident. it will happen. i'm confident they'll get the procedures worked out.
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this is putting two additional rocks in the rock sacks. one of the principles is unity command. one commander in charge. in this case we have two commanders in charge. one who answers to the north atlantic treaty organization. another answers back to the united states. secretary of defense. so it's difficult. thank god we have seasoned commanders to work through the difficulties. and the commander of the african command in germany. they're not in the same place. they're in two different locations. >> not necessarily. he is dual headed. he's also the european commander in his u.s. hat, which happens to be within five miles. >> so he can go to the european command and take over his responsibility as head. >> he can. but he'll be doing this wearing his nato hat. so my suspicion, and i'm
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strongly confident he'll do this out of brussels. >> it sounds to me like turkey, for example, strongly opposed to nato going beyond the no-fly zone, but going after air to ground activities in libya. >> i don't think it was just turkey. behind the scenes, there are 28 different countries. they all have 28 different agendas. in this case the turkish agenda that they did not want to attack muslim people predominant in the debate. other countries hid behind the turkish argument. two missions. no-fly being conducted by nato. >> as a retired u.s. army general, what i hear you saying is that this convoluted arrangement is going to hurt u.s. military personnel. >> no. it's just going to make the mission more difficult. >> well, that's going to hurt u.s. military personnel. >> that's why we have seasoned
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commanders to work their way through it in a manner that protects our soldiers. it's an additional burden we're putting on the commanders. the unity of command in the operation, they wouldn't take the additional burden on. >> general, thank you for coming in. >> thank you. >> appreciate it. we're standing by to hear from the secretary of state hillary clinton. she's getting ready to make a statement over at the state department. we'll go there live. you're looking at live pictures. the treaty room at the state dpeept. as soon as she walks to the microphone, you will see her. you will hear her in t"the situation room". also, an unsung hero. how his suicide attack may have turned the tide. s future. he can't say social security... much less tell you what it means. he doesn't know that his parents are counting on the money they pay in. or that the hard earned benefits his grandparents receive... are secure. right now he's not thinking about his future. but we are. aarp has been working to preserve social security
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you're looking at live pictures of the state department. the secretary of state, hillary clinton, getting ready to make a statement to the nation on the nato agreement to take charge of the no-fly zone over libya, but not to broaden it for now at least. we'll hear he statement live in "the situation room." the libyan opposition consolidated its old over benghazi, the country's second largest city. a city of some 800,000 people. people have openly demonstrated in support of the air campaign, but the rebels say their stronghold was secured in large part by the actions of one hero.
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r reza sayah is in benghazi. his report contains disturbing images. >> reporter: rebel fighters in street clothes going head to head with the libyan army tank. the amateur video reportedly shot last week, a dramatic glimpse of the war for libya. pitting civilians against gadhafi's heavily armed forces. despite being severely outgunned, this is what rebel fighters did last month to the regime's military barracks in what is now the opposition capital of benghazi. the destruction of the compound, the turning point in the fight for the key city. to many here, this was the hero of that fight. a 49-year-old oil company worker, husband, father of two, the best way to help the opposition, he decided was to sacrifice his life. his two teenage daughters say
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they had no idea what their father had planned. his wife too distraught to appear on camera. we're not able to express how much we miss him, says sajeda. we miss him a lot, says her sister. he was with us every moment of our lives. this is where he gave his life. the old military barracks in benghazi. it's demolished today. on february 19th rebel fighters surrounded it and were facing heavy fire power. they were trying to get inside the military barracks. they couldn't. he packed his car full of plastic car containers in cooking gas cylinders. he parked his car where the suv is and prayed and read the koran for 30 minutes and then sped to the main gate to blow up
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himself. this is a picture of his best friend carrying his remains after the blast. >> if i didn't, i could not believe it. >> he says is the suicide attack sent gadhafi troops running, clearing the way for rebels to overtake the barracks. >> he's a real hero. >> for opposition forces, the taking of the barracks was a monumental victory, made possible, they say, by al mehti. one of hundreds of civilians who died for the war. for his two daughters, the loss is heart renching but one they're honored to live with. he did something very important. we're definitely very proud of him. reza sayah, cnn, benghazi, libya. >> we expect secretary of state hillary clinton to make a
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statement soon on this nato arrangement to take charge of the no-fly zone.
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>> what we have decided today is
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to take responsibility for the no-fly zone, with the aim to protect civilians by closing the air space for all flights, except eight flights, all with the aim to protect civilians. of course, we can act in self defense. we have not decided if we will take on the broader responsibility. that means you will have two operations. we we have taken on responsibility for the no-fly zone, while the coalition still continues its activities. as i told you, we are considering whether we should take on that broader responsibility. however, that decision has not been made yet. >> the nato secretary general speaking with us just a little while ago. breaking the news on precisely what nato agreed to do and what
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it has not agreed to do so far. we're waiting for secretary of state hillary clinton to respond. she's expected to make a statement soon. as soon as she comes to the microphone at the state department, we'll go there live. let's discuss what the breaking news is all about. chris lawrence is joining us from the pentagon. gloria borger is our senior political analyst. gloria, first to you, it looks like, just off the top, the obama administration did not yet get exactly what it wanted from nato. >> you know, in watching this, wolf, it's kind of like watching congress try and get something done. you know. it takes an awful lot of time to get all those people in a room to agree to something. i was talking to a senior official today who made it very clear they want this to evolve to a point where the primary responsibility is not american. what this senior presidential adviser said to me is we want the united states in what he
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called a support and and say cyst role. that's the humanitarian position. then nato will take on the no-fly zone. but how broadly you define what that means seems to be the question you were getting at. >> chris lawrence, the pentagon, the u.s. military will salute and say yes, sir to whatever the mission is. it seems a little convoluted the way they split the baby, if you will. >> oh, yeah. well any time you have to try to set up two separate command and control structures, it's going to be much more difficult than if it was all concentrated. just handing it off to a combination of nato and some non-nato countries was going to be challenging enough. i mean, you're talking about, wolf, when you talk about commanding a mission like this, you're talking about, well, the
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day-to-day operations in a base in italy. it's not connecting all the different countries in different locations, but it's making sure that they have the technology to constantly talk to each other and the support that makes sure that nothing slips through the cracks. >> all right. hold on, guys. stand by. we're going to take a quick break. we're waiting for the secretary of state. we'll have her remarks here on cnn as soon as she comes out. we'll be right back.
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clinton is expected to go to the microphones at the state department and make a statement. she's prepared to be in london on tuesday to go forward with this operation over libya. let's continue our discussion with chris lawrence over at the pentagon. gloria borger, she's here in the washington studios. gloria, it it looks like secretary of state clinton is one of the decisive players in this moment right now, because she's the one that the obama administration said, you go out and tell the american people what's going on. >> right. i think she's the one clearly involved in these negotiations, and that at this point the president of the united states is not coming out because there isn't anything to announce yet. it's very clear that this is still a work in progress, and i think this gives us a window on the future, though, wolf. one of the downsides of not controlling a mission is that you don't control the mission.
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so it's not our rules all the time anymore, and we have to sort of accept that ambiguity or that back seat, which is something we're not really used to doing in this country. so the management of this coalition and our role in it is very delicate. >> hold on a second. paula newton is in brussels. she's getting more details on what nato has agreed to and what it it hasn't agreed to. unfortunately, i think we lost that connection with paula newton, but she's getting more information. we'll fix that connection and go to her. any immediate reaction at the pentagon to what the nato secretary-general chris announced here in the situation room at the top of the hour? >> i think they're still holding off, wolf, because of a very important thing he said to you, which was when he really made the point to say, look, we're still trying to bring this all under nato. so i think people are kind of hanging back waiting to see what
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happens over the next, say, 24 hours, to see if, indeed, this is just a blip and maybe tomorrow or sometime in the next day that this does get worked out and everything is brought under the nato umbrella. >> it's a sensitive moment for a lot of people. you know the president is being criticized, obviously, by some republicans including john boehner, the speaker of the house. he's being criticized by fellow democrats. >> right. i think they're going to want to answers to the basic questions you were asking, wolf. don't forget, they have to appropriate the money to pay for all of this. and they're going to want answers to real specific things like about what our role is, what the timetable is, how long this is going to last, what it's going to cost, what's the nato mission, what is our role in that mission, how do we define success? if they don't get the answers to those questions, the president's going to have some real political problem. we're watching this unfold, and
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as you see, it's such a fluid environment because it's hard to get these 28 members to agree on everything. >> especially hard to get the turks to agree with france and the united states, for that matter. we'll take a quick break. more breaking news coverage after this. -nights... ...and free breakfast at hotels in virtually every city. so, thanks to this large man in a little jetpack... you can search thousands of hotel freebies... right now only at priceline. [ male announcer ] here they come. all the new tech products you need. and they're all looking for the same thing. ♪ the one place that makes technology easy. staples. with highly-trained tech experts and expanded tech centers, staples makes finding the right technology just the way you want it. easy. easy to buy. easy to fix. easy to save. staples. that was easy.
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the upheaval in libya is leaving some of the country's representatives in an unusual condition. they discovered the former libyan ambassador in the united states is trapped in a diplomatic no-man's-land. brian. >> reporter: this is a new fix feu fixture in the ambassador. he now represents that opposition, but his life and career are in real limbo. the place is ornate, immaculate and now cav nus. the residence in washington looks like it's about to be photographed for the style magazine. the man who employed them quit his job, and their visas expired. >> we don't have the help and don't have staff or facilities to work. i have to buy my stationary yesterday from staples. >> he's the former libyan ambassador to the u.s. he broke from moammar gadhafi a
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few weeks back. now he represents the opposition. problem is, the u.s. government hasn't yet formally recognized the opposition. >> are you afraid that you might lose this place and be tossed out? >> i'm afraid of one thing. that the march toward freedom is not achieved. >> reporter: he now has to take meetings on his cell phone. his staff consists of his wife, two sons, their wives, two american assistants, and his year and a half old grandson ali. he's now one of at least five senior libyan diplomats that boek with gadhafi and lingering in a diplomatic and personal no-man's-land. he still prominently displays pictures of himself with the obama and george w. bush. what is missing from this room is a large picture of moammar gadhafi that stood right there. that was removed the day he broke with the regime. he said he was never approximate
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part of the inner circle. now he communicates with the opposition leaders in benghazi and working to help fund them to free up libya's assets frozen in the u.s. as for the prospect of gadhafi staying in power are you worried about your own security here, that the regime hires somebody -- >> now i have no guard and until now i go as usual as it used to be before. i go to play tennis on the weekend, and i play golf, too. i'm not concerned with the situation to libya, i don't like to be tied to somebody to look at me all the time like looking after a baby in their sleep. >> reporter: the former ambassador said he would be comfortable to going to libya in the rebel-held strongholds in the east. he figures they'll confiscate the diplomatic plates on the cars
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